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Guest Lecture: Professor Tyler Cowen,What does Happiness Research Mean for Economic Policy?

Page updated 20 Sep 2007

Abstract and paper from Professor Tyler Cowen's Guest Lecture presented at the Treasury on 08 August 2005.

Professor Tyler Cowen

George Mason University

Tyler Cowen has a Ph.D in economics from Harvard University and is currently a Professor of Economics at George Mason University. He has edited the volume Public Goods and Market Failures, and has written Explorations in the New Monetary Economics with Randall Kroszner. He has just finished a book, Markets and Cultural Voices, April 2005, and has three other books in print: In Praise of Commercial Culture, What Price Fame?, and Creative Destruction.


Recent research uses questionnaire evidence to determine what makes for a high quality of life. This more sociological, cardinal approach has been used to argue for various policy conclusions, including a lower rate of economic growth (e.g., Richard Layard, Andrew Oswald). In contrast I argue that the new happiness literature should lead to a higher emphasis on the virtues of economic growth.

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